At a long-awaited event in San Francisco on June 6, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference to talk about his company’s future. The Apple executive and his staff outlined plans for iOS, Mac OS X and a new cloud-based file storage service called iCloud. Along the way, they answered many of the questions Apple followers have been asking for quite some time.
However, there were still far too many questions left unanswered following the keynote address. Those questions relate to the entire list of products and services Apple talked about, as well as those things that didn’t even come up. And Apple, as has been its way over the years, held closely to its agenda and said little about future product developments beyond those it actually introduced at the conference.
So, as the Worldwide Developers Conference kicks into full gear and Jobs goes back on medical leave, customers around the world are left with nothing more than those questions and hopes for answers to come along sooner rather than later.
1. How is Steve Jobs’ health?
When Steve Jobs announced months ago that he was going on another medical leave of absence, he didn’t say what was wrong or when he would come back. Since then, the Apple CEO has been tight-lipped about his health. At the Worldwide Developers Conference, many hoped that he would address his health and say for sure what was going on. He didn’t do so, and now speculation about his health continues unabated.
2. Where is the iPhone 5?
In previous years, WWDC was home to Apple’s unveiling of the latest iPhone. Last year, for example, the company showed off the iPhone 4. But this year, it didn’t unveil the iPhone 5, causing many to wonder when it will finally do so. Is Apple’s iPhone release schedule changing? At this point, it certainly seems so.
3. What about the iPhone 4S?
Though there was plenty of speculationthat Apple wouldn’t launch the iPhone 5 at WWDC this year, other rumors suggested the company was actually planning to unveil the iPhone 4S, an improved version of the iPhone 4. However, Apple didn’t talk about hardware at this year’s WWDC, and now some might wonder if the rumored iPhone 4S will ever see store shelves or if it will be passed over for the eventual launch of the iPhone 5.
4. What makes iCloud better than other services?
As Jobs noted during his keynote address at WWDC, there are other cloud-based file storage and collaboration services out there, including those from Amazon and Google. The question now is, what makes Apple’s offering so much better? Sure, it integrates apps, music, documents and photos, among other things. But as online users know all too well, there are many other services out there that provide similar functions. Apple’s iCloud looks rather derivative at this point from a functionality perspective. Apple will need to show consumers there are some advantages to Apple’s cloud offering.
Limits on iCloud, iMessage
5. Whatever came of Lala?
Prior to Apple’s announcements at WWDC, many reports suggested that Lala, the online-music service Apple acquired in 2009, would play a key role in iCloud. Some wondered if users would be able to stream content from iCloud to their devices. But that hasn’t happened. And Lala’s functionality, while seemingly a perfect fit for iCloud, has yet to make its way to the service. Hopefully it will at some point in the future.
6. Is this really a groundbreaking music service?
Numerous reports cropped up before iCloud was announced that suggested Apple had inked major deals with music labels that would provide the company with more music functionality than its competition. But now that the details surrounding iCloud are known, it’s clear that there is no groundbreaking music service here. The service essentially makes it easy for users to transfer previously purchased content to other devices. Was that really all Apple was seeking in its negotiations with music labels?
7. Why isn’t video streaming included?
In Apple’s discussion on iCloud, the company left out one key detail: video streaming. Apple said that users will be able to transfer music, documents, photos and other content through the cloud, but video streaming is not included. That might be due to the storage requirements related to such a solution. But considering how important video has become, it would have been a nice addition. Will video streaming come to iCloud eventually? There’s no telling just yet.
8. Will the OTA update process be like Android’s?
Apple made an important announcement at WWDC, saying that iOS users will no longer need to connect their devices to their computers to update them. That’s certainly a welcome addition, but some might wonder if the update process will mimic that of Android’s in that it will take awhile to roll out an update to several devices. Apple says that its update process will address that thanks to support for delta updates. But everyone will be waiting until iOS 5 launches to see if the company’s update process can be better than Android.
9. What are the limits on iMessage?
Though Apple gloated about iMessage during its keynote, there are still many questions surrounding the app, which lets users on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch communicate and share content over WiFi and 3G. Will the service be another BlackBerry Messenger, or something more robust? More importantly, will there be any limits, especially from carriers who might not welcome the communication over their 3G networks? The details surrounding iMessage will need to be worked out and communicated to users before its launch.
10. What about Facebook?
With iOS 5, users will find full Twitter integration, making it much easier to send out tweets or photos from an iPhone or iPad. For social-media fans, it’s a nice addition. But what about Facebook? As the world’s top social network, Facebook arguably would have been a more desirable addition to iOS 5 than Twitter. And in an ideal world, they both could have co-existed on the platform. Twitter is great, but wouldn’t Facebook have been even better?